B Day: the Bribery Act comes into force | 01 July 11
The Bribery Act comes into force on 1 July 2011. Has your business implemented the requisite compliance measures?
What is the Bribery Act?
The Act replaces existing anti-bribery and corruption legislation with a comprehensive new law supplemented by official Government guidance.
The Act makes it an offence to give or receive a bribe which is intended to induce or reward improper performance of a business or public function.
Bribes can take many forms and a major concern is whether corporate hospitality could be inferred as being a bribe.
Is it really going to affect my business?
The Act has potentially serious implications for organisations and employees in both the public and private sectors. The penalties include unlimited fines and 10 years in prison.
Even if the Act doesn’t directly impact on you, you will probably find that your customers and clients will want to know what procedures you have in place to deal with the risk of bribery and corruption.
Failure to put the right measures into practice could have an impact on your ability to do business.
What should I do about it?
By now, your organisation should have issued its commitment to eradicating any bribery within its organisation. You should have assessed the potential areas of exposure to your business, drafted an Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy and carried out appropriate staff training.
Why has no-one told me this before?
There has been a lot of press coverage about the Act as well as briefings from professional advisers.
There is conflicting opinion about the implications of the Act. However, the practicalities of compliance and how to fit it in with your normal business have not been fully covered.
As a result, many organisations are unsure of where they stand or what measures they should be taking.
How can you help me?
At Ward Hadaway, we are already helping a number of organisations comply with the Bribery Act. Compliance is not necessarily time-consuming or onerous.
We’re providing support and advice to organisations who are happy to take on the bulk of the work themselves.
At the other end of the scale, we’re helping some organisations write their policies and procedures.
Whatever stage you are at when it comes to complying with the Bribery Act, we can give you practical, commercial advice to give you peace of mind.
And if the worst comes to the worst and you are investigated by the Serious Fraud Office, we have significant experience in supporting clients through the investigation and enforcement process.